It might have been an otherwise unremarkable Tuesday morning—except for the change in staff plans that brought Antoinette Tuff to work on an unscheduled day and placed her right behind the front desk of a Georgia elementary school.
Placed her right in line with a young man armed with an AK-47 rifle and “nothing to live for.”
For the past week Antoinette Tuff has been hailed as a hero, and rightly so. Her unflappable courage, compassion, and authority while talking down a distraught gunman (you can listen to her 911 call) at a Georgia elementary school have garnered the attention of the media, as well as the White House.
Some hold her up as an anti-gun model. Some want to know if they can teach the leadership skills she used—she called him by name, related her own troubles, extended compassion and hope all while keeping calm and composed.
And some, like me, see the power an ordinary woman, seasoned by life, trained in vocational skills, and “anchored in the Lord” has for such a time as this. She said her pastor had been talking about being anchored in the Lord and that is what she clung to as she employed all the skills and training she’d had for hostile situations.
Listening to her 911 call, you’d never know she was more scared than she’d ever been in her life. It seemed to me, a signature touch of the Lord that when she asked the man’s name. He told her Michael Hill. She said, “I'm a Hill too!” Her mother’s name was Hill.
Hill meets Tuff Hill, and for that he can be thankful.
Antoinette Tuff is a reminder for me that it’s so easy to just react in any confrontation (not necessarily with gunman!). An eye for an eye sort of response. And yet, anchored in the Lord, we have the power and the skill to “see through” the situation and to respond with kindness and compassion.
Her story is also an example for me of how any day, any ordinary day, might just be the one the Lord chooses to use us for such a time as this.
Blessings on this National Just Because Day! May the fleeting days of August be sweet.